Battleship Bismarck
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Bismarck Battleship - German Navy WW2

Battleship Bismarck
Battleship Bismarck
Bismarck Battleship
Mission Bismarck   Front View   Production   Side View

Battleship Bismarck, a 41,673-ton battleship, was built at Hamburg, Germany. First of a class of two heavy ships, with Tirpitz being the second, she was commissioned in August 1940 and spent the rest of that year running trials and continuing her outfitting. The first months of 1941 were largely devoted to training operations in the Baltic sea. Bismarck left the Baltic on 19 May 1941, en route to the Atlantic, accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. On the morning of 24 May, while west of Iceland, the German vessels encountered the British battlecruiser Hood and battleship Prince of Wales. In the ensuing Battle of the Denmark Strait, Hood blew up and sank. The seriously damaged Prince of Wales was forced to break off contact. Bismarck also received shell hits that degraded her seakeeping and contaminated some of her fuel.

Later on 24 May, Prinz Eugen was detached, while Bismarck began a voyage toward France, where she could be repaired. She was intermittantly attacked by carrier planes and surface ships, ultimately sustaining a torpedo hit in the stern that rendered her unable to steer effectively. British battleships and heavy cruisers intercepted the crippled ship on the morning of 27 May. After less than two hours of battle, shells and torpedoes had reduced Bismarck to a wreck. She capsized and sank, with the loss of all but 110 of her crew of some 2300 men.

Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's reaction to Bismarck's loss produced a very cautious approach to future German surface ship operations against Britain's vital Atlantic sea lanes. In June 1989, just over forty-eight years after she sank, the German battleship's battered hulk was located and photographed where she lies upright on a mountainside, nearly 16,000 feet below the ocean surface.

Bismarck (Battleship, 1940-1941) - Construction

Battleship Bismarck was Germany's first post-World War I battleship, with guns and protection of similar scale to those of the best foreign combat ships. Built to a relatively conservative design, she featured a main battery of eight 38 centimeter (15-inch) guns in four twin turrets, two forward and two aft. Her secondary battery of twelve 15 cm (5.9-inch) guns, mounted six on each side in twin turrets, was optimized for use against enemy surface ships, especially destroyers. Her anti-aircraft battery, including sixteen 10.5 cm (4.1-inch) guns in eight twin mounts and several 37mm and 20mm machine guns, reflected the prevailing pre-World War II underestimation of the threat from the air, a failing common to all the World's navies. CIA / KGB intelligence game. Run your own operation game. Travel around the world and set up espionage game, trade with state secrets, weapon systems, spy codes, WMD, hire secretaries, agents, lawyers and soldiers, establish secret agent stations, cells and bases and search for criminals and politicians. Involve in agent game. Game contains more than 40 missions including Nuclear Game, Cold War Game, Secret Agent, CIA Games, USAF, Prime Minister, RAF, Bin Laden, Sadam, KGB, Operations Iran…

The two ships of this class, Bismarck and her "sister" Tirpitz, were quite fast, at just over thirty knots maximum speed. Their steam turbine powerplants, producing some 150,000 horsepower, consumed a great deal of fuel oil, limiting their oceanic "reach" to a degree that was especially critical to a nation with Germany's geography. Future German battleship designs, which World War II aborted, featured diesel engines, intended to produce far greater endurance on the high seas.

Name: Bismarck
Ordered: 16 November 1935
Laid down: 1 July 1936
Launched: 14 February 1939
Commissioned: 24 August 1940
Bismarck General characteristics
Displacement: 41,700 T standard
50,900 tonnes full load
Length: 251 metres (823.5 ft) overall
241.5 metres (792.3 ft) waterline
Beam: 36.0 metres (118.1 ft) waterline
Draft: 9.3 metres (30.5 ft) standard
10.2 metres (33.5 ft) full load
Propulsion: 12 Wagner high-pressure;
3 Blohm & Voss geared turbines;
3 three-blade propellers, 4.70 m diameter
150,170 hp (121 MW)
Speed: 30.1  knots during trials (one work claims a speed of 31.1 knots (57.6 km/h).
Range: 8,525  nm at 19 knots (35 km/h)
Complement: 2,092: 103 officers 1,989 men (1941)
Armament: 8x 380 mm (42)
12x 150 mm/L55 SK-C/28 (62)
16x 105 mm/L65 SK-C/37 / SK-C/33 (82)
16x 37 mm/L83 SK-C/30
12x 20 mm/L65 MG C/30
8x 20 mm/L65 MG C/32 (84)
Armour: Belt: 145 to 320 mm
Deck: 110 to 120 mm
Bulkheads: 220 mm
Turrets: 130 to 360 mm
Barbettes: 342 mm
Conning tower: 360 mm
Aircraft carried: 4Arado Ar 196, with 1 double-ended catapult

Battleship Bismarck was very heavily protected against the gunfire of other battleships. With a standard displacement of well over 41,000 tons (about 50,000 tons fully loaded), she was also quite a bit larger than her European and American contemporaries. As shown by the photographs below, originally collected by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence, this ship's construction greatly interested foreign navies.

Built at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Bismarck's keel was laid at the beginning of July 1936. She was launched with considerable ceremony, including the attendance of Adolf Hitler, on 14 February 1939. Her outfitting, which included the addition of a new "clipper" bow (which the Germans called an "Atlantic" bow), lasted nearly two years. She was commissioned in August 1940, ran trials during the following months, and was not fully ready for service until late in 1940.

Battleship Bismarck: Operation Rheinubung

On 5 May, Hitler and Keitel arrived to view battleship Bismarck and Tirpitz in Gotenhafen. The men were given an extensive tour of the ships, after which Hitler met with Lutjens to discuss the upcoming mission. On 16 May, Lutjens reported thatbattleship Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were fully prepared for Operation Rheinubung; he was therefore ordered to proceed with the mission on the evening of 19 May. As part of the operational plans, a group of eighteen supply ships would be positioned to support Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. Four U-boats would be placed along the convoy routes between Halifax and Britain to scout for the raiders.

By the start of the operation, battleship Bismarck's crew had increased to 2,221 officers and enlisted men. This included an admiral's staff of nearly 65 and a prize crew of 80 sailors, which could be used to crew transports captured during the mission. At 02:00 on 19 May, Bismarck departed Gotenhafen and made for the Danish straits. She was joined at 11:25 by Prinz Eugen, which had departed the previous night at 21:18, off Cape Arkona. The two ships were escorted by three destroyers—Z10 Hans Lody, Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt, and Z23—and a flotilla of minesweepers. The Luftwaffe provided air cover during the voyage out of German waters. At around noon on 20 May, Lindemann informed the ship's crew via loudspeaker of the ship's mission. At approximately the same time, a group of ten or twelve Swedish aircraft flying reconnaissance encountered the German force and reported its composition and heading, though the Germans did not see the Swedes.

An hour later, the German flotilla encountered the Swedish cruiser HSwMS Gotland; the cruiser shadowed the Germans for two hours in the Kattegat. Gotland transmitted a report to naval headquarters, stating: "Two large ships, three destroyers, five escort vessels, and 10–12 aircraft passed Marstrand, course 205/20'." The OKM was not concerned about the security risk posed by Gotland, though both Lutjens and Lindemann believed operational secrecy had been lost. The report eventually made its way to Captain Henry Denham, the British naval attach to Sweden, who transmitted the information to the Admiralty. The code-breakers at Bletchley Park confirmed that an Atlantic raid was imminent, as they had decrypted reports that battleship Bismarck and Prinz Eugen had taken on prize crews and requested additional navigational charts from headquarters. A pair of Supermarine Spitfires was ordered to search the Norwegian coast for the flotilla.

German aerial reconnaissance confirmed that one aircraft carrier, three battleships, and four cruisers remained at anchor in the main British naval base at Scapa Flow, which confirmed to Lutjens that the British were at that point unaware of his operation. On the evening of 20 May, Bismarck and the rest of the flotilla reached the Norwegian coast; the minesweepers were detached and the two raiders and their destroyer escorts continued north. The following morning, radio-intercept officers on board Prinz Eugen picked up a signal ordering British reconnaissance aircraft to search for two battleships and three destroyers northbound off the Norwegian coast. At 7:00 on the 21st, the Germans spotted four unidentified aircraft, though they quickly departed. Shortly after 12:00, the flotilla reached Bergen and anchored at Grimstadfjord. While there, the ships' crews painted over the Baltic camouflage with the standard "outboard grey" worn by German warships operating in the Atlantic.

While battleship Bismarck was in Norway, a pair of Bf 109 fighters circled over her to protect her from British air attacks, but Flying Officer Michael Suckling managed to fly his Spitfire directly over the German flotilla at a height of 8,000 m (26,000 ft) and take photos of Bismarck and her consorts. Upon receipt of the information, Admiral John Tovey ordered the battlecruiser HMS Hood, the newly commissioned battleship HMS Prince of Wales, and six destroyers to reinforce the pair of cruisers patrolling the Denmark Strait. The rest of the Home Fleet was placed on high alert in Scapa Flow. Eighteen bombers were dispatched to attack the Germans, but weather over the fjord had worsened and they were unable to find the German warships.[42]

Bismarck failed to replenish her fuel stores while anchored in Norway, as her operational orders did not require her to do so. She had left port 200 t (200 long tons) short of a full load, and had since expended another 1,000 t (980 long tons) on the voyage from Gotenhafen. Prinz Eugen, meanwhile, took on 764 t (752 long tons) of fuel.At 19:30 on 21 May, Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, and the three escorting destroyers left Bergen.At midnight, when the force was in the open sea and headed toward the Arctic Ocean, Raeder finally disclosed the operation to Hitler, who only reluctantly consented to the raid. The three escorting destroyers were detached at 04:14 on 22 May, while the force steamed off Trondheim. At around 12:00, Lutjens ordered his two ships to turn toward the Denmark Strait to attempt the break-out into the open Atlantic.

By 04:00 on 23 May, Lutjens ordered Bismarck and Prinz Eugen to increase speed to 27 kn (50 km/h; 31 mph) to make the dash through the Denmark Strait. Upon entering the Strait, both ships activated their FuMO radar detection equipment sets. Bismarck led Prinz Eugen by about 700 m (770 yd); mist reduced visibility to 3,000 to 4,000 m (3,300 to 4,400 yd). The Germans encountered some ice at around 10:00, which necessitated a reduction in speed to 24 kn (44 km/h; 28 mph). Two hours later, the pair had reached a point north of Iceland. The ships were forced to zigzag to avoid ice floes. At 19:22, hydrophone and radar operators aboard the German warships detected the cruiser HMS Suffolk at a range of approximately 12,500 m (13,700 yd). Prinz Eugen's radio-intercept team decrypted the radio signals being sent by Suffolk and learned that their location had been reported.

Lutjens gave permission for Prinz Eugen to engage Suffolk, though the captain of the German cruiser could not clearly make out his target and so held fire. Suffolk quickly retreated to a safe distance and shadowed the German ships. At 20:30, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk joined Suffolk, but approached the German raiders too closely. Lutjens ordered his ships to engage the British cruiser; Bismarck fired five salvoes, three of which straddled Norfolk and rained shell splinters on her decks. The cruiser laid a smoke screen and fled into a fog bank, ending the brief engagement. The concussion from the 38 cm guns' firing disabled battleship Bismarck's FuMO 23 radar set; this prompted Lutjens to order Prinz Eugen to take station ahead so she could use her functioning radar to scout for the formation.

At around 22:00, Lutjens ordered Bismarck to make a 180-degree turn in an effort to surprise the two heavy cruisers shadowing him. Although battleship Bismarck was visually obscured in a rain squall, Suffolk's radar quickly detected the manoeuvre, allowing the cruiser to evade. The cruisers remained on station through the night, continually relaying the location and bearing of the German ships. The harsh weather broke on the morning of 24 May, revealing a clear sky. At 05:07, hydrophone operators aboard Prinz Eugen detected a pair of unidentified vessels approaching the German formation at a range of 20 nmi (37 km; 23 mi), reporting "Noise of two fast-moving turbine ships at 280 relative bearing.

Bismarck Battle of the Denmark Strait

At approximately 05:30 on Saturday 24 May, as the German squadron was about to leave the Denmark Strait, Prinz Eugen's hydrophones detected the presence of two additional ships some distance to port. By 05:45 both were in sight, although the German force had not yet identified the enemy force. It turned out to be a British battle-group comprising the new battleship Prince of Wales, and the battlecruiser Hood, under the command of Rear Admiral Lancelot Holland. Prince of Wales had only recently been completed and was still being worked up (indeed, she sailed to meet Bismarck with about 100 civilian workers still onboard completing her fitting-out). Hood had been built as a battlecruiser and modified to give her protection more like a battleship, but still had relatively weak deck armour. The Germans were not surprised that they had been detected by British ships, but that they would turn out to be capital ships was an unexpected development.

At 05:49 Holland ordered fire to be concentrated on the leading German ship, Prinz Eugen, believing it to be battleship Bismarck. Fortunately for the British, the captain of Prince of Wales was soon to realise the error and changed his target. Holland amended his order on the correct ship to be engaged but this did not reach Hood's gunnery control before the first salvo. Hood fired the first shots of the battle at 05:52, in daylight, followed very soon afterwards by Prince of Wales. The range to the German ships was c. 12.5 miles (20.1 km). The first salvo from Hood landed close to Prinz Eugen, causing minor shell splinter damage near the aft turrets.

More than two minutes went by without a reply from the German ships, before Captain Lindemann ordered fire to be returned on the lead British ship. This was Hood, which the Germans had identified only when the British squadron made a turn towards them at 05:55. This manoeuvre was undertaken, it appears, in an attempt to place themselves in the "zone of immunity", an area inside which both plunging fire, in particular, and direct enemy fire is relatively ineffective. Closer in, Hood would be less vulnerable and the advantage of superior German gunnery control would be lessened. The disadvantage was that, during the dash, eight of the eighteen British heavy guns could not be brought to bear.

Both Bismarck and Prinz Eugen opened fire on Hood, at a range of 11 miles (18 km). The early gunfire from the German ships was very accurate and within two minutes Hood had been hit by at least one 8-inch shell from Prinz Eugen. It struck the British ship near the mainmast and caused a large fire which Hood's crew tried to bring under control. Prinz Eugen hit Hood three times during the engagement. However, Bismarck had also been hit by Prince of Wales, causing a fuel leak from the forward tanks; therefore Lutjens ordered his cruiser to switch its guns towards Prince of Wales, which his own secondary guns were now targeting. Bismarck survivor Baron Burkard von Mllenheim-Rechberg initially claimed that the hits on his ship were scored by Hood with her third salvo. However, it is equally likely that these hits were scored by Prince of Wales, as it is clear that Hood was targeting Prinz Eugen for the majority of the battle and that the order to change target to Bismarck saw most of her salvoes fall between the enemy ships, hitting neither.[15] At 05:54 the range was down to 22,000 yards (20 km), at 05:57 it was down to just 19,000 yards (17 km). Bismarck then fired a fourth salvo which was slightly long and astern of Hood. At the same time Holland had ordered "2 Blue", a 20-degree turn to port. Before the ship began a turn to port Hood fired a fifth salvo at 05:59:30.

At 06:00 Hood, which was in the process of turning to port to bring her full weight of armament to bear on Bismarck, was hit amidships by at least one shell from Bismarck's fifth salvo at a distance of under nine miles (16,500 yards). Very shortly afterwards observers on both sides saw a huge jet of flame race skywards, followed by a rumbling explosion that split the huge ship in two. Splinters rained down on Prince of Wales, 400 yards (370 m) away. Hood's stern rose and sank shortly before the bow, all within three minutes. Admiral Holland and 1,415 crewmen went down with the ship. Only three men (Ted Briggs, Bob Tilburn, and Bill Dundas) survived. They were rescued about two and a half hours later by the destroyer Electra. The British Admiralty later concluded that the most likely explanation for the loss of Hood was a penetration of her magazines by a single 15-inch shell from Bismarck, causing the subsequent catastrophic explosion. Recent research by submersible craft suggests that the initial explosion could have been in the aft 4-inch magazine, followed by the aft 15 magazine and that it may also have spread to the forward 15-inch magazines via the starboard side ammunition passage.

Prince of Wales had to turn towards the German fleet to avoid hitting the wreckage left by the flagship and was hit a number of times by gunfire from both German ships. Still, her own gunfire had caused damage to Bismarck. The British battleship turned away, laying smoke, her aft turret firing briefly under local control. She had received seven hits (three of them from Prinz Eugen) and mechanical failures had left her with all but one of her main guns out of action.
The death of HMS Hood; a smoke cloud fills the sky above Hood's position, just after the ship exploded

At 06:03 Prinz Eugen, which at that point had fired 183 20.3 cm shells, reported propeller noises to starboard, bearing 279 and 220. Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were forced into emergency manoeuvres and sighted a Sunderland flying-boat shortly afterwards. Although Captain Lindemann wanted to chase Prince of Wales and "finish her off", Admiral Lutjens ignored his suggestions since delay risked the possibility of encountering other heavy enemy ships. In a battle lasting less than 20 minutes Bismarck and her consort had seen one enemy capital ship destroyed and another withdraw, an action almost unknown in the Royal Navy.

At 08:01 Bismarck made a transmission to Group North:

Sections XIII-XIV. Electric plant No. 4 broken down. Port No. 2 boiler room is making water but can be held. Maximum speed 28 knots (52 km/h). Denmark Strait 50 nautical miles (93 km) wide. Floating mines. Two enemy radar sets recognised. Intention: to put into Saint-Nazaire.

Faulty intelligence had led the Germans to believe that Prince of Wales was not yet ready for action, therefore reports from Bismarck referred to her as King George V, the first of that class, which had been active for some months.

Despite the jubilation onboard Bismarck, the battleship was not safe. The British knew her position, her forward radar was out of action and she had received three hits, one of which caused water to leak into and contaminate fuel oil in storage. From then on, Bismarck had to reduce speed to a maximum of 20 knots (37 km/h) to conserve fuel. Lutjens eventually decided that he would have to head for the French coast (the dry-dock in Saint-Nazaire) for repairs, while ordering Prinz Eugen to continue commerce raiding alone. The British continued to shadow her, Prince of Wales having rendezvoused with Norfolk and Suffolk. To enable his consort to escape, Lutjens turned on his pursuers and forced them to turn away, thus allowing Prinz Eugen to steam on out of British radar range. The plan was to be executed on the signal "Hood". Lutjens first attempt failed. However at 18:14 a second attempt succeeded, the two German ships parted and Bismarck signalled "Good hunting".

German Battleship Bismarck's Atlantic Sortie, May 1941

In the wake of the successful January-March 1941 cruise of the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau against Allied shipping, and in keeping with Grand Admiral Erich Raeder's strategy of aggressively employing his heavy ships, another German Navy raiding expedition into the Atlantic was undertaken, employing the new battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. After many delays, these ships left the Baltic Sea on 19-20 May. Briefly stopping near Bergen, Norway, on 21 May, they then headed north, planning to enter the shipping zone by way of the Denmark Strait, between Iceland and Greenland.

British planes had photographed the German ships while they were in Norwegian waters, and the Royal Navy sent its own warships to sea in an effort to intercept the enemy and keep him from attacking the vital convoys. British cruisers began to shadow the Germans on 23 May, and Bismarck fired on HMS Norfolk. At about 6AM the next day, in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, the Germans fought and destroyed HMS Hood and drove off HMS Prince of Wales.

Battleship Bismarck was also damaged sufficiently to force her to abort her mission. British aircraft and ships continued to follow the two German vessels, which separated late on 24 May during an exchange of gunfire with their pursuers. Prinz Eugen continued into the Atlantic while Bismarck was to head toward France, where her damage could be repaired. That night, the British hit the German battleship with a carrier plane's torpedo, reducing her speed, but also lost track of her. Contact was regained on the 26th and the Royal Navy vectored its ships to attempt to sink Bismarck before she could reach the protection of Luftwaffe aircraft from France. Late that day, planes from the carrier Ark Royal scored at least two torpedo hits, one of which crippled Bismarck's rudders.

Unable to maintain course toward France, and still out of range of friendly airpower, Bismarck now was at the mercy of her enemies. Torpedo attacks by destroyers on 26-27 May achieved no success, but on the morning of the 27th two Royal Navy battleships, Rodney and King George V, and two heavy cruisers arrived. Firing began before 9AM, with German gunfire accuracy quickly degrading to ineffectiveness. British fourteen and sixteen-inch shells gradually smashed Battleship Bismarck's main guns, superstructure, hull and armor. Prompted by torpedoes and scuttling charges, the German battleship rolled over and sank somewhat after 10:30 AM on 27 May 1941, bringing to an end the most serious challenge that German surface warships would make to British Atlantic Ocean supremacy.


With the port rudder jammed, Bismarck was now steaming in a large circle, unable to escape from Tovey's forces. Though fuel shortages had reduced the number of ships available to the British, the battleships King George V and Rodney were still available, along with the heavy cruisers Dorsetshire and Norfolk.[109] Lütjens signalled headquarters at 21:40 on the 26th: "Ship unmanoeuvrable. We will fight to the last shell. Long live the Führer." The mood of the crew became increasingly depressed, especially as messages from the naval command reached the ship. Intended to boost morale, the messages only highlighted the desperate situation in which the crew found itself. As darkness fell, Bismarck briefly fired on Sheffield, though the cruiser quickly fled. Sheffield lost contact in the low visibility and Captain Philip Vian's group of five destroyers was ordered to keep contact with Bismarck through the night.

The ships encountered Bismarck at 22:38; the battleship quickly engaged them with her main battery. After firing three salvos, she straddled the Polish destroyer ORP Piorun. The destroyer continued to close the range until a near miss at around 12,000 m (39,000 ft) forced her to turn away. Throughout the night and into the morning, Vian's destroyers harried Bismarck, illuminating her with star shells and firing dozens of torpedoes, none of which hit. Between 05:00 and 06:00, Bismarck's crew attempted to launch one of the Arado 196 float planes to carry away the ship's war diary, footage of the engagement with Hood, and other important documents. The third shell hit from Prince of Wales had damaged the steam line on the aircraft catapult, rendering it inoperative. As it was not possible to launch the aircraft it had become a fire hazard, and was pushed overboard.
Rodney firing on Bismarck, which can be seen burning in the distance

After daybreak on 27 May, King George V led the attack. Rodney followed off her port quarter; Tovey intended to steam directly at Bismarck until he was about 8 nmi (15 km; 9.2 mi) away. At that point, he would turn south to put his ships parallel to his target. At 08:43, lookouts on King George V spotted her, some 23,000 m (25,000 yd) away. Four minutes later, Rodney's two forward turrets, comprising six 16 in (406 mm) guns, opened fire, then King George V's 14 in (356 mm) guns began firing. Bismarck returned fire at 08:50 with her forward guns; with her second salvo, she straddled Rodney. Thereafter, Bismarck's ability to accurately aim her guns became increasingly difficult as the ship, unable to steer, moved erratically in the heavy seas and deprived Schneider of a predictable course for range calculations.

As the range fell, the ships' secondary batteries joined the battle. Norfolk and Dorsetshire closed and began firing with their 8 in (203 mm) guns. At 09:02, a 16-inch shell from Rodney struck Bismarck's forward superstructure, killing hundreds of men and severely damaging the two forward turrets. According to survivors, this salvo probably killed both Lindemann and Lütjens and the rest of the bridge staff. The main fire control director was also destroyed by this hit, which probably also killed Schneider. A second shell from this salvo struck the forward main battery which was disabled, though it would manage to fire one last salvo at 09:27. Lieutenant von Müllenheim-Rechberg, in the rear control station, took over firing control for the rear turrets. He managed to fire three salvos before a shell destroyed the gun director, disabling his equipment. He gave the order for the guns to fire independently, but by 09:31, all four main battery turrets had been put out of action. One of Bismarck's shells exploded 20 feet off Rodney's bow and damaged her starboard torpedo tube—the closest Bismarck came to a direct hit on her opponents.

By 10:00, Tovey's two battleships had fired over 700 main battery shells, many at very close range; Bismarck had been reduced to a shambles, aflame from stem to stern. She was slowly settling by the stern from uncontrolled flooding with a 20 degree list to port. Rodney closed to 2,700 m (3,000 yd), point-blank range for guns of that size, and continued to fire. Tovey could not cease fire until the Germans struck their ensigns or it became clear they were abandoning ship. Rodney fired two torpedoes from her port-side tube and claimed one hit. According to Ludovic Kennedy, "if true, [this is] the only instance in history of one battleship torpedoing another".
HMS Dorsetshire picking up survivors

First Officer Hans Oels ordered the men below decks to abandon ship; he instructed the engine room crews to open the ship's watertight doors and prepare scuttling charges. Gerhard Junack, the chief engineering officer, ordered his men to set the demolition charges with a 9-minute fuse but the intercom system broke down and he sent a messenger to confirm the order to scuttle the ship. The messenger never returned and Junack primed the charges and ordered the crew to abandon the ship.[126] Junack and his comrades heard the demolition charges detonate as they made their way up through the various levels. Oels rushed throughout the ship, ordering men to abandon their posts. After he reached the deck a huge explosion killed him and about a hundred others.

The four British ships fired more than 2,800 shells at Bismarck, and scored more than 400 hits, but were unable to sink Bismarck by gunfire. At around 10:20, running low on fuel, Tovey ordered the cruiser Dorsetshire to sink Bismarck with torpedoes and sent his battleships back to port.[129] Dorsetshire fired a pair of torpedoes into Bismarck's starboard side, one of which hit. Dorsetshire then moved around to her port side and fired another torpedo, which also hit. By the time these torpedo attacks took place, the ship was already listing so badly that the deck was partly awash. It appears that the final torpedo may have detonated against Bismarck's port side superstructure, which was by then already underwater.Around 10:35, Bismarck capsized to port and slowly sank by the stern, disappearing from the surface at 10:40.Some survivors reported they saw Captain Lindemann standing at attention at the stem of the ship as she sank.

Junack, who had abandoned ship by the time it capsized, observed no underwater damage to the ship's starboard side. Von Müllenheim reported the same but assumed that the port side, which was then under water, had been more significantly damaged. Around 400 men were now in the water;[126] Dorsetshire and the destroyer Maori moved in and lowered ropes to pull the survivors aboard. At 11:40, Dorsetshire's captain ordered the rescue effort abandoned after lookouts spotted what they thought was a U-boat. Dorsetshire had rescued 85 men and Maori had picked up 25 by the time they left the scene. A U-boat later reached the survivors and found three men, and a German trawler rescued another two. One of the men picked up by the British died of his wounds the following day. Out of a crew of over 2,200 men, only 114 survived.

The Bismarck class battleships were a pair of battleships built by Germany around the onset of World War II. In terms of full-load displacement, the Bismarck-class ships were the third-largest battleships ever completed, behind the Japanese Yamato class and the American Iowa


According to the prewar German naval program, Plan Z, the Bismarcks were to operate in the Kriegsmarine`s battleline along with six of the H-class battleships and the Scharnhorst class battleships in the event of war. As the planned H-class battleships were nowhere near completion when hostilities commenced, and were eventually broken up, the Bismarcks had to be used in attacking merchant shipping.

Both Bismarck-class ships were lost during the Second World War. Bismarck was scuttled during combat with the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic in 1941 on its first sortie against merchant shipping. The Tirpitz for most of its career acted as a fleet in being in Norway, threatening the Murmansk convoys with its presence and tying down Royal Navy units; after numerous attempts to sink her, she eventually capsized at its anchorage in Norway after being hit with Tallboy bombs from Royal Air Force bombers in late 1944.

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World War 1; World War 2 Operations, Weapons Data; Modern Weapons Data; Modern Wars; Combat Organizations
Third Reich Organization and people GERMAN ARMY WW2 ORDER OF BATTLE Adolf (Adolph) Hitler WW2 Victory Defeat Power Axis Powers WW2 Pact of Steel Gestapo, SS Panzer Divisions Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, Werner Von Braun, Wilhelm Canaris, Field Marshal Nazism Fascism WW2 V1 Rocket - Flying Bomb V-1 V2 Rocket V-2 Fuhrerbunker - WW2 Forifications Maginot Line WW2
Japan Planes - List of Aircraft Imperial Japan Navy Admirals Japan WW2 Fighters- Mitsubishi Zero Yamato_Battleship Musashi_Battleship
WW2 Luftwaffe Planes - List of Aircraft Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Dornier Do 215 Junkers Ju-188 Dornier Do 17, Dornier Do 335 Pfeil Junkers Ju 88 Messerschmitt Bf 109, Messerschmitt Me 262 Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, Heinkel He 111 Focke-Wulf Fw 190, Junkers Ju 52
HMS Prince of Wales Battleship, HMS Repulse HMS Ark Royal, HMS Hood Battlecruisers Battle of Crete - Operation Mercury WW2 Battle of Taranto Battle of Cape Matapan Battle of Narvik Battle of the River Plate, Battle of Dunkirk, Battle of the Atlantic

Battleship Bismarck
German Battleships WW2
Battleship Game